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Scavengers Constitute 1% Of Lagos’ Active Workforce – LAWMA

According to LAWMA, these scavengers do not only contribute to recycling efforts in the state, but also to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

The Director, Public Affairs of LAWMA, Folashade Kadiri, stated this in a chat.

Kadiri was responding to questions on what the agency is doing to ensure that scavengers are not allowed to live at Abule-Egba dumpsite, considering the health risks they are exposed to, and also if the agency holds sensitization programmes to educate scavengers at the site on the importance of wearing boots, facemasks, and hand gloves for their safety.

She said: “LAWMA’s approach to addressing the presence of scavengers at the Abule-Egba dumpsite is grounded in a holistic understanding of waste management, circular economy principles, and the safety of informal sector workers. By formalising their involvement, providing proper safety measures, and recognizing their economic contributions, LAWMA is taking decisive steps towards creating a sustainable and safe waste management ecosystem. The collaborative efforts between LAWMA, scavengers, and the community at large are emblematic of a well-rounded approach that balances economic, environmental, and social considerations.”

Kadiri informed that LAWMA is working to regulate the activities of scavengers at the dumpsite, properly profile them, and provide them with the necessary personal protective equipment (PPE).

“Moreover, the involvement of scavengers in the waste management process holds economic significance. These workers, constituting about 1 percent of Lagos’ active workforce, contribute to the region’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP). This economic contribution aligns with the circular economy model, where waste materials are transformed into valuable resources that stimulate economic growth,” Kadiri said.

She noted that the concept of materials recovery from waste has gained significant traction on a global scale, adding that this strategy involves reprocessing waste materials into new products, reducing the dependency on virgin materials for new production, and enhancing sustainability within a circular economy framework.

“While the techniques for materials recovery differ, particularly in regions with varying levels of industrialisation and urbanisation, the overarching goal remains the same: to minimise waste and maximise resource utilisation,” Kadiri said.

The state government launched a circular economy hotspot in July.

Circular economy is based on regeneration of products for continuing production in a sustainable and environmentally-friendly manner.

In other words, it is a model of production and consumption, which extends the lifecycle of products.

According to Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu at the unveiling of the initiative, circular economy would proffer a programmatic approach to addressing global economic crises occasioned by pollution, climate change and loss of biodiversity.

He explained that Lagos made the move in championing the initiative to create new wealth for the youths in Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs), while also generating more jobs, as additional innovative production ideas and extra manpower would be required to keep the regenerated materials in the loop for a long time.


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